Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19th, 2013


You know.. I've been thinking lots in the past week about some things
in regards to a training we were given. The ZLs pointed out that in
the zone, the amount of lessons with a member present has gone down,
and were questioning why. The easy response is to say that the members
in our area are lazy and don't make the effort to help us fellowship
people. Which could be entirely true. Then they related it to a talk
given by M. Russell Ballard called Create Success. One part that stuck
out to me:

 "Ability means nothing to a missionary if it is not used. The
greatest men came to the top because of the strength that grew out of
meeting resistance. Self-deceptions are responsible for more then
three-fourths of all the so-called “unexplained failures” in the
mission field. Many missionaries in the race for success explain their
shortcomings as they do in the game of bowling. If they fail to win,
something was wrong with the alley, the pins, their arms, their
members, their companions, their areas, etc. etc. The trouble is never
themselves. Of all the distinguished failures, those who deserve the
least sympathy are the ones who gather in foolish little cliques,
praise each other, deceive each other, criticize others, and fool
themselves. They say, “I am not appreciated.” “I have had bad luck all
my mission. Others have had a better chance.” “I wish I could have the

fortune of Elder ‘success.’” A fireball missionary starts when an
investigator says “no!” This is a plain and simple concept but very

 The reason we go to serve missions is not so that things will fall
into place for the area and for the members in it. It is not to expect
people to bring us referrals - if that was the case then missionaries
would hardly be necessary. Our success is not measured by the amount
of baptisms that we have, but the amount of seeds we plant, the
strengthening of the members in the area, and the motivation and
commitment to do the Lord's will. President Hiers has said that at the
end of our mission he will not ask us how many baptisms we had or how
many lessons we taught. What he will ask is "Have you given your all
to Christ?" There is so much I can do to improve. I'm here to serve a
full-time mission. I've learned so much about myself and about my
relationship with my Heavenly Father. But I know that I've only taken
a few footsteps on the path that will last my entire life. We are to
serve with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. I've just felt
in the last week that there are little shifts that I can make to bring
the Spirit more into my life and into my decisions. We are doing God's
work and we are entitled to His help. The work here is going well and
we're teaching a lot of people. I know that all the tools and
trainings that we've been given are there to be a skeleton from which
we can prayerfully study and apply to our own missions and
investigators. I've been trying to take a harder look at Preach My
Gospel as of late too. I studied PMG very heavily at the beginning of
my mission, mostly because I was scrambling to learn and soak in as
much as I could. As soon as I could comfortably teach all of the
lessons PMG kind of slipped to the back burner in my personal study,
shifting more to talks and a heavier more in-depth study of the Book
of Mormon. I've just felt that if I'm not using all the tools that
I've been given then there are skills and opportunities that I could
be missing that would detrimentally affect our investigators. Am I
truly digging into the doctrine of each lesson to seek out and prepare
a lesson specifically for them? Or am I drifting towards a rote
presentation depending on their input and questions to steer it in the
direction they'll need? I need to be more proactive instead of just
reactive. Personal study is awesome and I feel like I get a lot out of
it when I continue to ready the Book of Mormon. But I'm not here to
study for me. I have the rest of my life to do that. I need to be
pushing myself to give all I have to the people we're teaching and
constantly try and find more. Maybe I'm being a little self-critical..
But it's about time I don't just "get over" something, right? :)

We'll be having two baptisms this Saturday... That is, the extremely
hyperactive ADHD twins with an attention span of 10 minutes or less.
We're still working on the parents. As for Dad's question I haven't
really delved too much into their Pagan and Wiccan beliefs to know
just how familiar they are with their own faiths. I've met people who
just throw out "Oh I'm Wiccan" as soon as they see us to basically be
a stronger argument than "Oh I'm Catholic." Wiccan sounds scarier...
They're still very supportive and we saw them all at church again this
week. Let us hope that the Spirit just keeps chip-chip-chipping away
at them until it finally delivers the killing blow. Maybe that was
harsh terminology. The bottom line is they'll come around if they keep
it up. There's a few other families that have been popping up lately
who we're trying to follow up with. So it's still picking up - we're
teaching a lot of mixed families who are waiting on divorces so they
can get married. I've never had to juggle so many custody issues in my
life. It's hard to plan lessons with a lot of them because some kids
are there every other weekend, some just during the week, PLUS when
you factor in parents' work schedules... It's a nightmare.

Mom - Restrain me from poking fun at the fact that that took you an
hour to type.. :) Haha! You'll get there eventually. Its still weird
to think Evan is finishing his freshman year in a few short months as
well as Ryan is graduating. Don't let brother Mills swoop in and steal
your calling! Considering the Book of Mormon was the only REAL year of
seminary that I had I know it's an awesome year. And no you never did
tell me about when you were interviewed for baptism. Was it a
disaster? And the fact that they have to be clean for a week isn't
just so they can skip a week and then go back... A week is generally
accepted to be the minimal amount of time to act in faith and be able
to show Heavenly Father they are able to live without their addiction.
That lady I interviewed and had to say no to I got to interview her
again and she got baptized on Friday. I'll see if I can get someone to
video the musical fireside. I will be singing, actually! I have a solo
in one of the songs and we'll be singing the a Capella version of
"Nearer My God to Thee" done by Vocal Point. (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9UsDl5gSuo ) It's gonna be awesome.

Dad - Trial by fire would be a good way to describe a failed
interview. It was super hard - but it felt like the right thing to do.
And the lady told the sisters that she feels stronger than she was
before and she didn't realize how much she depended on coffee to
function. So it worked out in the end. What was it like being the
branch president and dealing with missionaries in branch council? I
just realized that you've seen the other side of it - I just never
associated with the missionaries in our area at all. By the way - the
trend of high maintenance sisters is definitely not coming to a close
anytime soon. There are supposed to be 15 missionaries coming into the
mission next transfer... And 12 of them are sisters. God help us all.
We're supposed to get like 19 or 20 the transfer after that too.
AAAAAAHHHH!!! : # <--- Whatever this means... I guess you're probably
right in talking about the symbolism of the two trees between the
Garden of Eden and Lehi's Dream. The beauty of symbolism is that it
can be interpreted differently to apply to different situations - so I
shall not refute your discovery at this time.

I love you guys! I sent the package with all the things in it last
week. Enjoy your pictures. Have an awesome week! :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

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